Generic Name: fluorouracil topical (FLOOR oh URE a sil TOP i kal)
Brand Name: Carac, Efudex, Efudex Occlusion Pack, Fluoroplex
What is fluorouracil topical?
Fluorouracil interferes with the growth of skin cells. Fluorouracil works by causing the death of cells which are growing fastest, such as abnormal skin cells.
Fluorouracil topical (for the skin) is used to treat scaly overgrowths of skin (actinic or solar keratoses). Fluorouracil topical may also be used in the treatment of superficial basal cell carcinoma.
Fluorouracil topical may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about fluorouracil topical?
This medication can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not use fluorouracil topical if you are pregnant.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using fluorouracil topical?
You should not use fluorouracil topical if you are allergic to it.
To make sure fluorouracil topical is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) enzyme deficiency.
FDA pregnancy category X. This medication can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not use fluorouracil topical if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy during your treatment with fluorouracil topical. Follow your doctor's instructions about how long to prevent pregnancy after your treatment ends.
It is not known whether fluorouracil topical passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
Do not give this medication to anyone under 18 years old without medical advice.
How should I use fluorouracil topical?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Clean the area where you will apply fluorouracil topical. Rinse well and dry the area with a towel and wait ten minutes before applying the medication.
Wash your hands before and immediately after applying this medication, unless it is being used to treat a hand condition.
Apply fluorouracil topical to the affected area with the finger tips or a non-metal applicator, smoothing it gently onto the affected skin. Use enough to cover the entire area with a thin film.
Fluorouracil topical should not be applied on the eyelids or in the eyes, nose, or mouth. Use caution when applying fluorouracil topical around the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Do not use fluorouracil topical on skin that is irritated, peeling, or infected or on open wounds. Wait until these conditions have fully healed before using fluorouracil topical.
Do not cover the treated skin area unless your doctor tells you to.
A moisturizer or sun screen may be applied 2 hours after fluorouracil topical has been applied.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using fluorouracil topical?
Avoid using other medications on the areas you treat with fluorouracil topical unless your doctor tells you to.
Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Fluorouracil topical can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.
This medicine can pass into body fluids (including urine, feces, vomit, semen, vaginal fluid). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Patients and caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.
Body fluids should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant. Use condoms during sexual activity to avoid exposure to body fluids.
Fluorouracil topical side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Common side effects may include:
skin dryness, peeling, or flaking;
mild rash; or
mild irritation where the medicine was applied.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Fluorouracil topical dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Skin Cancer:
Superficial basal cell carcinoma:
Apply 5% cream or solution to lesions twice daily with gloves or nonmetal applicators.
Treatment should continue for at least 3 to 6 weeks, and may be required for as long as 10 to 12 weeks to resolve the lesions.
Usual Adult Dose for Keratosis:
Actinic or solar keratosis:
0.5% cream (microsphere formulation): Apply to the affected area once a day. May be applied with the fingers and hands should be washed immediately afterward.
1%, 2%, 5% cream or 2%, 5% solution: Apply to the affected area twice daily with gloves or nonmetallic applicator, using sufficient amount to cover the lesions.
The usual duration of therapy is 2 to 4 weeks, until the inflammatory response reaches the erosion state, at which time treatment is discontinued. Lesions may not heal completely for 1 to 2 months after fluorouracil therapy has been discontinued.
Solar keratoses which do not respond to treatment should be biopsied to confirm the diagnosis.
What other drugs will affect fluorouracil topical?
It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on topically applied fluorouracil. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
More about fluorouracil topical
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about fluorouracil topical.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.01. Revision Date: 2013-07-10, 2:20:23 PM.